GFCF Day 1

We’ve been 24 hours without gluten or casein now. My oldest son is showing a little bit of response this morning. Youngest Son is not enjoying the dietary changes but is still being a relatively good sport. Oldest Son seems to like the new food, especially Oriental Rice Noodles. They are the new favorite. So at least there is food he can eat. He won’t starve. Phew! That was one of my fears.

Click for Larger Image. $150 of Gluten Free Casein Free Foods

I learned a few lessons at the supermarket yesterday. First is that my nearest Kroger has the largest GF selection in the Valley. That’s good to know, and convenient for me too. I met the manager of the Special Diet Section yesterday and he showed off his area. Nice young man, who obviously takes pride in his work. I think his mom has Celiac, or at least some family member, so he has the inside scoop on all the GF products.

He also has sales and a bargain basket of reduced products. The bargain basket had saving of 70% to 80% so I chose a lot of things from it, to try out. Specifically some baking mixes. Cornbread, chocolate cake, yellow cake, pancake and waffle mix etc. I did the calculating and the mixes were much cheaper than some of the ingredients that go into them. I praised the Lord the whole time, for providing such abundance.

The biggest money-saving lesson I learned is that anything labeled Gluten-Freein large letters costs at least twice as much as a similar gluten-free product that doesn’t proclaim it on the box in giant-sized print. For instance, GF chocolate chips that shout their status from the label cost $4.59 for 10-ounces–or about 46¢/oz.  After reading the label to make sure they were dairy-free too, I decided they were way outside of my budget, and resolved to find cheaper alternatives. In the regular baking section of the market I looked over the chocolate chips and was happy to see a wide variety. I picked up the most expensive ones and read the label. They contained milk, so were out of the question. Next I picked up the cheapest ones and read their label. Their list of ingredients was the exact same a the expensive GF variety. A quick check of their price told me they cost $1.29 for 12-ounces–or about 11¢/oz. Obviously this is a wiser use of limited funds. (BTW, the brand is Kroger’s discount VALUE brand, for anyone who might be interested.)

Then a funny thing happened in my brain. For a moment I considered paying$4.59 just for the peace of mind that those big letters GLUTEN-FREE gave me. For a split second, I waswilling to pay extra for that reassuring package label. Then I came back to myself and re-read the cheap chocolate chips label to be sure it truly was GFCF. I’m happy to report that it still was, and that they taste just like regular chocolate chips, which in fact, they are.

So my first lesson is that if I’m willing to read lables myself, and trust my own ability to interpret them, then I can save a bundle. How cool is that?! I admit that at first I didn’t really want to trust myself in this regard. As a fully mortal woman, I will make mistakes now and then, missing some of the sneaky words like malt, which comes from barley, and whey, which is dairy. The large quantities of money I save though, will make up for these occasional mistakes, and still provide big savings. After some prayer I decided that I may not always read labels perfectly, but I’m willing to take that chance in exchange for lower prices. At home I can always read the labels again before  I prepare anything, as a stop-gap before any offending foods make it into the kid’s diet.

One of the greatest bargains I found was rice noodles in the Oriental Section of the market. They’re less than half the price of special GF rice spaghetti and have an excellent texture. They’ll work for spaghetti, Lo Mein, and noodle stir-fries. Plus the kids love them! I’ll bet their even cheaper at my local Oriental market.

The next big lesson I learned is that most of the grains and starches I will be using are over-priced in my local area. I bought small quantities of some things, like Amaranth and Quinoa, Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch, Brown Rice Flour & White Rice flour, just to use them for the next 2 weeks. If we decide to stay with this way of eating, then I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives on-line. Whole grains are often cheaper than flours, so I’ll buy the grains and grind them myself in the future. I have a magnificent Oriental Food Store nearby that has giant sacks of brown rice for very little per pound. And parboiled rice (my favorite white variety) for very little too. So that is where I’ll get my rice for grinding into flour. It will cost as little as 15¢/lb instead of $1.50/lb, which was the price of the most expensive rice flour I saw yesterday. Eeep! That is expensive flour!

As for menu planning and meals, the cooking is much the same as we do already. Prepare foods from scratch using the most basic and inexpensive ingredients. I’m looking forward to learning some more about baking with GF grains. I’ve always enjoyed baking and it will be fun to expand my horizons.

To help the boys feel a little more secure about meals, I’ve written menus up on the white board, so they know what they’re eating next. It alleviates anxiety that is a normal part of changing one’s diet. My oldest, Tom, is happy with the changes. My youngest is tolerating them with a cooperative spirit. So far, so good.



Filed under GFCF, Grocery Shopping, Health, Low Cost Foods

11 responses to “GFCF Day 1

  1. You can also just call the company for peace of mind. Gluten can sneak into something in the strangest ways….spices, dusting roasted nuts with flour so they won’t stick together in the bag but not putting it on the label, etc. I just call the company if I have ANY doubt (or email them) and keep a small notebook of the ones I’ve checked out.


  2. Great Idea ASDMommy! It takes a little more time, but the savings to be had are enormous!

  3. It does take more time, but it’s so worth it. Especially if our kids respond to it, which mine does. I just found out I have celiac, so now I’m GF (and CF) free myself. It’s definitely an adjustment, but I feel like I’m eating so much healthier now! BUT I don’t bake anything – yet. So not much need for those challenging flours. I’m hoping to get there someday. 🙂

  4. “Should” is not taking a diet priority, in my life, today, but I happened upon your blog with a few mouse clicks out of my Google Reader..

    I was worried about Rice Chex because they also manufacture the other grains and for the same reasons that oats are contaminated.. it makes me go “hmmm”..

    I’m rather frustrated in my GF research, in my local area.

    I did want to drop my GF Blog roll post here, in case there is anything you are unaware of.. before I read on..

    I also found this information, about GF baking mixes and mixing flours, very helpful.

    Sorry to dump this if its a repeat of your knowledge and research. I only intend to share and then read on to your other posts.

    I’m finding just cooking GF (and Corn Free) for one, to be overwhelming as my kitchen, itself is contaminating, still. *sigh* Good luck to you and yours.

    (not a celiac, but plagued with many allergies)

  5. You found all that at Kroger? Boy, I wish I lived in the U.S. And on sale too? I think I just saw another couple of pigs fly past the Treehouse window.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  6. Hi Maggie,

    Havent been online much lately so i’m a bit late…but i just ~loved~ this peek into your sweet “circle of friends” a few posts back. Makes me remember the cats i had growing up…and the teeny tiny frog that hopped through the window one time too : )

    With the gluten, its like you said, it sure doesnt hurt to see…. maybe it will be a very healing thing. My prayers go with you as you see what unfolds here. And if i might mention something, another thought here…

    As you know i have EI (environmental illness/chemical sensitivity), and what i’ve learned is that what you breathe in or touch affects your body ~~just as much~~ as what you eat. It sounds strange, but its true. So if you were to cut down on the toxins in your environment (chemical cleansers and personal care products etc) your body might not react so strongly to various foods becuase it will be less overloaded. This is was what i was told by a doctor i’d say was trustworthy, and i’ve found it good advice. So i try and cut out the environmental/personal care product toxins before looking at food allergies. And honestly, i’ve found it much harder to try and work with food allergies than to make the environment nontoxic, its been much easier for me to focus on the latter instead. But then again i know we’re all different here and you may find it easier to deal with changes in the food allergy area instead.

    Well, hope you have a sweet Mother’s Day Maggie : )

    Peaceful Weekend : ) Wendy

  7. raynj

    yes GF CF is nearly the perfect human diet—better is RAW foods…ray

  8. WOW! I cannot believe you found all those great mixes on sale!! We stopped by Whole Foods this weekend and I bought maybe 10 things and it cost me over $30.00!!! (And I thought I was doing good!! haha!)

    I do buy MOST of my gluten free baking supplies online and in lower cost Asian grocery store. It really helps! I also try to sort of watch what I make, so that I do not overuse baking supplies too quickly!

    Great job Maggie!!

  9. DR

    While I have not been diagnosed with celiac, I gave up eating wheat gluten when my wife discovered that she had an intolerance to it.

    As you have written, it is very difficult at first to eat in this manner.

    Give it time and it will become easier. Like asdmommy said, manufacturers find some interesting ways to sneek the gluten in.

    It’s not just the gluten. Modern food processing is as far removed from healthy eating as you can get.

    I will be passing your blog onto one of my friends

    Best of luck

  10. The labels are the surest things you can read – due to FDA regulations many companies can say things about their food on the packaging that aren’t really true. Things can say organic if they have .05% organic material in them or something like that.

  11. Previously it was an absolute intimidating difficulty for me, but noticing the very well-written mode you managed it made me to jump over contentment.

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